Opposition parties have challenged Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili to produce the “yellow book’ and national budget that has provided funds for the more than 70 by elections envisaged by the Patriotic Front government.
NAREP president Elias Chipimo Jnr said the issue of by elections was not a question of budgeting, but a question of whether government was putting things in the right order because money should not be spent on unnecessary by elections at the expense of development agenda.
Mr Chipimo said it was only uncaring government which could approach opposition members of parliament in order to trigger by elections and yet fail to provide medicines for hospitals and clean water for the majority of its people.
“If the PF is now claiming that they budgeted for by elections are they telling us that the deliberate intention to poach MPs and force by elections under the law was a carefully thought out strategy to deny the people of Zambia funds for development which they are now using for by elections,” he asked
He said the concern was the billions of Kwacha of tax payers money being used for by elections and lack of sincerity as there as wasteful expenditure pattern in other areas especially by elections and Cabinet size.
He said the PF strategy therefore was always designed to ensure a dominancy in parliament even after general elections of 2011 because if all their petitions were to succeed it would have meant that literally by the time PF got through the first three years of parliament, almost half of the National Assembly would have been from by elections. Mr Chipimo said sensible governments budgeted for deaths of members of parliament or other non deliberate loss of seats and not for members who simply cross the floor. And MMD Copperbelt Provincial spokesperson Yotam Mtayachalo said that the remarks by the minister confirmed the reluctance by the ruling party to discourage by-elections and the eagerness to turn Zambia into a one party state.
Mr Mtayachalo said it was very disappointing that the minister would openly talk about the defections being budgeted for when he had failed to state development projects or the budget for the shortage of oxygen in hospitals. He said that type of behaviour from government should be condemned by all well meaning Zambians as it encouraged defections and in turn promotes a one party state.The provincial leader said the outspoken Fr Frank Bwalya was right when he said that the PF had allowed useless and reckless by- elections and the sentiments from a minister only confirmed that the PF was no interested in the development of Zambia.
Mr Mtayachalo charged that the PF was digging its own grave because it was allowing such nonsense as by-elections to take place on monthly basis and warned the ruling party that it would one day wake up to a rude shock because it had started doing what at one time the former ruling party did.